Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Anthony DeNovellis was bitten by a pit bull while walking to work Wednesday. Three dogs, a small terrier, a black lab and the pit bull approached DeNovellis, but only the pit bull became aggressive, biting him on the back of the knee.

OREM — The phrase "pit bull attack" brings up images of mangled limbs and bloody flesh, but luckily for 23-year-old Anthony DeNovellis, the attack Tuesday morning left him with only bruises and a small puncture wound behind his knee.

"The tetanus shot I had to get hurts worse than the bite," DeNovellis said with a chuckle. "The fear comes from knowing that it could have been a lot worse."

DeNovellis was walking to work Tuesday morning when three dogs suddenly surrounded him near 600 East and 1500 South in Orem.

He stood still, hoping the two pit bulls and a chocolate Lab would get bored and leave him alone, but they kept yipping at him.

"I know this is a pit bull; I know a pit bull can do a lot of damage," DeNovellis said. "I thought I would stand here to try to minimize the damage. If I fight it off, it's a fighting dog, it will fight back, probably a lot better."

Jim McFarland noticed the scene a few blocks away when he arrived at his shop, Japanese Auto, at 1533 S. State, early Tuesday.

"He had three yipping dogs tormenting him," McFarland said. "I noticed that every time he moved, they kept harassing him, nipping at him."

As McFarland walked closer to DeNovellis, he could see the dogs were biting him.

So McFarland called to the dogs to distract them.

"I got them to run over to me and they gave me the same treatment," he said.

The dogs circled McFarland and the male pit bull bit him on the back of his leg. It drew a bit of blood but didn't break through his heavy work pants.

"I thought to myself, this is dogs doing what dogs do, it wasn't terrifying or anything like that," McFarland said.

And with that, he led the dogs into a fenced-in area on his property to wait for animal control officers, who took the dogs to the North County Animal Shelter, said Orem Police Lt. Doug Edwards.

"The pedestrian was the real calm one," McFarland said. "He did a really good job staying calm. It could have been a lot worse for him had he broke and run and panicked."

A woman came by the shelter Tuesday and identified all three dogs as hers but didn't stick around long enough to get cited, Edwards said.

Just over an hour later, a man and woman came to the shelter and picked up the female pit bull and the brown Lab and got cited with dog at large, dog attacking a person, maintaining a vicious animal, no license and no rabies tags, Edwards said.

They told police the male pit bull belonged to their niece, the woman who had been in earlier, who will also be cited, Edwards said.

Meanwhile, the dog stays at the shelter while city officials determine what to do with it, although Edwards said he anticipated city officials would ask that it be put down.

"I'm just thankful that when it happened I was walking to work and not on a family picnic with our two little girls," DeNovellis said.


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